Paul Scharner had been added to the squad on the penultimate day, with two further signings on the last day being the latest additions to a far bigger squad than the head coach had at his disposal at the start of the campaign.
That two talented youngsters chose to join the club says a lot about how and where they see the Albion going over the next few years, and add to this the capture of Izzy Brown to the Academy, because “we were friendlier” than another top club, is another feather in the cap for both the scouting and coaching staff.
What is exciting is the signing of the two youngsters – not that Paul Scharner’s capture is not equally good: a proven professional, aged 30, with bags of experience, the Austrian international will do a good job for us in the central midfield area.
No, the signing of Dawson and Hurst is a step to the future: Craig Dawson, 20, was courted by the top clubs, yet we pinched him, and promptly lent him back to his club, Rochdale, where he can continue to be nurtured in the right way. His manager, Keith Hill, believes Albion have pulled off a transfer coup, and also believes the centre back has “the potential to excel at the highest level”. Certainly all parties should be congratulated for organising a deal which suits both them and us.
James Hurst is another fine prospect – much in the same mould as Dorrans was, when we picked him up from Livingston for a snip at £100k. The 18-year old Hurst actually rejoins his Academy colleagues, as he had originally signed for the Baggies as a nine-year old, before moving on to Portsmouth. Dorrans remains the pinnacle for which our latest two have to aspire – we can only wish them well and encourage them in their future striving.
As we do for a re-galvanised team – who were extremely unlucky to lose at Liverpool, and matched them all the way. The difference had been Fernando Torres, a supremely gifted player who took his chance well. One hopes that our newest acquisitions will make the difference in the long run, adding quality and competition for places.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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